Mumps is a viral illness that is spread through the air by respiratory droplets or by direct contact with saliva droplets. Not everyone infected with mumps will have symptoms, but even those persons without symptoms can spread the virus. A person can transmit mumps from 3 days before to 4 days after the onset of symptoms.
Symptoms of mumps begin about 14 to 18 days after exposure. Up to 20% of infected persons will have no symptoms. About 30 to 40% will have extensive swelling of the parotid glands along the jaw line. Other symptoms include myalgia (muscle pain), malaise, headache, and low-grade fever. In addition, up to 50% of postpubertal males develop orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) and about 15% of infected persons develop meningitis (brain inflammation).
Treatment of mumps is based on relief of symptoms and treatment of complications. MMR vaccine and immune globulin given after exposure does not prevent development of symptoms.
Although in the past measles, mumps and rubella were available
as individual (single antigen) vaccines, the manufacturer is no longer
making these individual vaccines. Instead measles, mumps, and rubella
vaccines are given as combined MMR vaccine or as MMRV vaccine (combined
MMR vaccine and varicella vaccine).
Product: M-M-R II® (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)
Manufacturer: Merck & Co
Year licensed: 1971
Product: ProQuad® (Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella)
Manufacturer: Merck & Co
Year licensed: 2005
* MMR vaccine contains egg protein,
neomycin, and gelatin (see package insert). However, allergy to eggs in
not a contraindication or precaution to MMR vaccine.
*When MMR antigens are given in combination with other antigens (e.g., variciella)
in one vaccine, the other antigens in the vaccine may cause other side
effects. For more information about these possible side effects, go to
the varicella pages on the Vaccines section of this website.
In children, mumps is usually a mild disease. Adult service members may have a more serious form of the disease and more complications.
Serious complications of mumps are more common among adults than among children. Mumps can lead to hearing loss, aseptic meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) in about 10% of cases, painful, swollen testicles in 20-30% of males who have reached puberty (orchitis) but rarely does this lead to fertility problems, and painful, swollen breasts in about 30% of women who have reached puberty (mastitis), and in a very few cases, inflammation of the ovaries. An increase in spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) has been found among women who developed mumps during the first trimester of pregnancy; however, there is no evidence that mumps causes birth defects. Deafness, in one or both ears, can occur in approximately one per 20,000 reported cases of mumps.